Freddie Freeman will still have a chance to experience his first All-Star Game. But his inability to play has provided his Braves teammate Brian McCann a chance to be a part of yet another Midsummer Classic.

A wave of emotions filled the injury-riddled Braves clubhouse on Sunday. A few hours after Freeman learned a left thumb injury would prevent him from playing, Major League Baseball announced National League manager Bruce Bochy had selected McCann to serve as Freeman's replacement.

"Freddie's carried us," McCann said. "It's unfortunate that he won't be able to play in the game. I'm happy to be going in his place. I'm glad someone in this clubhouse got to go in his place, but I feel bad for him that he won't be able to enjoy it on the field."

Bochy's decision to go with McCann was primarily influenced by the fact that he wants to carry three catchers on his roster that already included Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, who has spent the past week dealing with an inflamed right knee.

But it also could to do with the fact that Bochy still remembers the game-winning double McCann recorded in the 2010 All-Star Game. The hit provided McCann his only All-Star MVP Award and the Giants a chance to own home-field advantage as they beat the Rangers in that season's World Series.

"That was one of the biggest highlights of my career so far," McCann said. "It's something I'll never forget, and I hope I'll get the chance to do it again."

McCann earned six straight All-Star selections from 2006-11 and then missed last year while dealing with a right shoulder ailment that forced him to undergo offseason surgery and miss this season's first five weeks. Since returning to his everyday role as Atlanta's catcher, he has produced like he did while winning five NL Silver Slugger Awards.

McCann entered Sunday hitting .291 with 12 home runs and a .910 OPS, which ranked second only to Posey among NL catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. The Braves veteran enhanced his All-Star credentials while hitting .440 with a 1.282 OPS in his past 13 games.

"It's huge," McCann said. "A lot of hard work went into this winter to be in this position. The rehab that I put in, it's all paying off right now."